Only one thing is certain in this life after death and taxes. And that is, if you carry a record collection around long enough, some of the records will get scratchy. It’s the nature of vinyl. But the blip in the Neil Young that starts today’s batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl only lasts for a couple of revolutions, so bear with me. Recorded during his 1973 tour, the album Time Fades Away is one of only two Neil Young albums that was never made officially available on CD. The tour followed two major events in Neil’s life: the multi-platinum success of Harvest and the drug overdose death of Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten who had been fired during rehearsals for the tour. While the audiences wanted to hear sweet acoustic rockers like “Heart of Gold,” Neil was coming from a darker place. The emotions stirred by Whitten’s death combined with Young’s tendency not to pander to his audience, Neil delivered a series of concerts that Mark Deming called “a ragged musical parade of bad karma and road craziness.” Here we’ll hear Neil, alone at the piano doing “The Bridge.”
The songs that follow, sound like they might have been chosen for Whitten’s memorial service: “I Shall Be Released,” “Teardrops Will Fall,” and “Long, Long, Long,” one of the great, semi-forgotten Beatles songs. By the way, there’s a little something funny to listen for during Ry Cooder’s “Teardrops Will Fall.” At the very end of the song, it sounds as if the record skips. In fact I thought I’d hit the turntable. But I hadn’t. I’ve got both the vinyl and the cd of Ry’s album Into The Purple Valley – and BOTH of them have what sounds like a goofed up edit right at the end, so listen for that. The second half of the set is a trip down south to “Old Virginia” from America, “Sweet Virginia” from the Stones, and the “Mississippi Half Step Uptown Toodle-loo” from the Grateful Dead. But first, here’s Neil Young.
|Neil Young||The Bridge|
|The Band||I Shall Be Released|
|Ry Cooder||Teardrops Will Fall|
|Beatles||Long, Long, Long|
|Rolling Stones||Sweet Virginia|
|Grateful Dead||Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodle-loo|
That’s the “Mississippi Half Step Uptown Toodle-loo” from Wake of the Flood, the first album the Grateful Dead released on their own label and the first one recorded following the death of founding band member Ron ‘Pigpen’ McKernan, At the top of the set, Neil Young from Time Fades Away, the first album Neil recorded following the death of his friend, Crazy Horse guitarist, Danny Whitten. In the middle of the set, we heard “Long, Long, Long” from The White Album, which was the first album the Beatles recorded following the death of their manager, Brian Epstein. That’s a creepy little pattern I didn’t see until I was writing this. “Long, Long, Long” was written by George Harrison and produced by George Martin who also produced the song that followed in the set, “Old Virginia” from America’s album, Hearts.
Elsewhere in the set, we heard the Rolling Stones scraping the shh-tuff right off their shoes, from Exile on Main Street, a track called “Sweet Virginia.” We also heard some Music From Big Pink, the Band covering Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” followed by Ry Cooder doing “Teardrops Will Fall” from his great album Into The Purple Valley, a collection of traditionals and other early Americana that I highly recommend. By the way, if you want to see the set lists for any of the shows, we’ve got ‘em all posted on the website for your convenience, billfitzhugh dot com, where you’ll also find scandalous photos, the unauthorized history of how the show came about, the much talked about interview with former porn star, Geoff Young, just kidding, Geoff’s actually a respectable magazine publisher but he said it was all right if I called him a porn star. In any event, thanks for listening, I’m Bill Fitzhugh in the Way Back Studios. I’ll have another batch of All Hand Mixed Vinyl next time, right here in the Deep Tracks.